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Exhibiting History

Museum has variety of displays

June 13, 2010
By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - People looking to catch a glimpse of the FJ&G Railroad can visit the Fulton County Museum.

While the actual railroad stopped running years ago, a model with a working train and examples of the buildings that used to be near the railroad is at the museum.

"The FJ&G was the lifeblood of our area," Mark Pollak, the vice president of the Fulton County Historical Society, said about the historical importance of the railroad.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor

Mark Pollak, the vice president of the Fulton County Historical Society, points to a building Wednesday in Gloversville that is part of the Fulton?County Museum’s model of the FJ&G Railroad.

However, the featured exhibit at the museum this year is titled "Yesterday's Healthcare."

Joan Loveday said the exhibit, which features photos and artifacts focusing on medical and nursing care of the past, can teach children quite a bit. Among the many things they can learn, she said, the first may be just how much the local physicians would be required to do in their office.

Different care

Unlike medical care today, which frequently involves trips to the emergency room to get broken bones set or to have cuts stitched up, years ago doctors would frequently do that work themselves, she said.

"He would do it right in his office," she said.

Among the items on display, more than a few belonged to Dr. Armand J. D'Errico.

D'Errico joined the surgical staff at Nathan Littauer Hospital in 1934, according to information at the museum. He was a general practitioner in Gloversville for 60 years. He died in 2005 at the age of 99.

"He delivered babies, he did everything back then," Loveday said.

There are old photographs showing former doctors in the area and graduates of the former nurses school at Nathan Littauer Hospital.

There are nurses' uniforms and capes, old equipment used by doctors and even a skeleton used to teach anatomy at the hospital.

Marie Born, the city's 1st Ward supervisor and a member of the historical society, worked with Loveday setting up the exhibit.

Born was able to dress up an old CPR dummy as "Dr. Hans R. Kool," who visitors will notice behind a desk doing a pile of paperwork.

"It looks great," Born said about the exhibit. "It's nice to see some of the old things."

A humorous part of the display was put together by Dr. Charles Pannaci, the first Italian obstetrician in the city.

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Pannaci was educated at Columbia University and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1900, according to information at the museum.

While Pannaci died in 1939, he had collected more than 100 ways his name had been misspelled in correspondence to his office. The collection is framed and is hanging on one wall as part of the exhibition.

Railroad

The model of the FJ&G shows examples of the buildings the railroad used to pass in Fonda, Johnstown, Broadalbin and the city.

Pollak said many of the building used in the model no longer exist.

However, some - such as the repair shop that is across from the Domino's Pizza on West Fulton Street in the city - are still standing.

The model of the FJ&G Railroad was made by city-native Eber Davis. Davis, who lived in Schenectady, often came back to the city to photograph the railroad and the buildings it served, according to information from the museum.

The models are made of poster board and pieces of Venetian blind were used for support and were painted accurately from his photos.

The project took 50 years to complete.

Pollak noted that the room the railroad exhibit is in was redone with the help of a $5,000 grant from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation.

New lighting and a fresh coat of paint were just some of the improvements made to the room.

While the presentation of the model is not quite finished, Pollak said, it is at least presentable.

"Now that it is presentable, our hope is that we can work on it more at our leisure and finish it," he said.

There are a number of other exhibits on display at the museum, including quilts and coverlets from the estate of the late Gene Valk and a military exhibit that shows artifacts not displayed before.

For more information, visit the museum and historical society's website at fultoncountymuseum.com

 
 

 

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